For an hour Kíli had spent on the phone trying to comfort Tauriel who had not come over the shock of finding out her brother had left to Mordor. He felt incredibly useless as he promised her everything would be fine, while not being able to hold her. He waved her constant apologies away, she needed him and he would be there for her, always.
She told him about Arwen and Éowyn and he heard the pain in her voice. Having met Arwen he couldn’t imagine the girl doing anything to hurt her friend. He’d suggested that perhaps they wanted to protect her from such news because they knew she never would have gone to the birthday is she had know. If this was the case than Kíli wholeheartedly thanked them. But as much as he was happy she hadn’t known about this yesterday, he understood her pain. He would flip if anyone would do that to her. Legolas and possibly had terribly underestimated her, thinking she wouldn’t be able to handle it. She was one of the strongest people he knew and if she had known she would have dealt with it far better than now. She was realistic enough to get over it; she didn’t have any choice.
He had made her promise to talk to her friends the next day after she had slept a little. Then he told her to come over in the evening at his mother’s insistence who had heard enough of the conversation to understand what was going on. Dís had planned some distraction for the girl. Also Gimli would still be there, he had seen Mordor and perhaps he could help her understand Legolas’ situation better.
Hanging up his heart felt heavy and he took a while to process what had happened before he told his family, who had all looked at him questioning. Their reactions were shocked at the news.
“Poor girl!” Arild exclaimed. “To be left in the dark like that, by her brother especially. Are they close?”
Kíli thought about the blond man, the way they seemed to move in perfect synchronization with each other and his protective attitude around Tauriel. Yes he could definitely see they were close, which Tauriel confirmed through all her stories of her past. Legolas very often appeared in them. Kíli would be lying if he said he hadn’t at times felt jealous and even threatened by the man. But apart from being incredibly angry at the guy for hurting Tauriel like this, he realized, dreadfully, that he did respect him more. He had to admire his bravery; for heading to one of the most dangerous places in the world to help out, it was quite admirable.
He couldn’t help but wonder if Tauriel would have been as upset if he had gone.
By the time the sun came back up Tauriel had slept minimally. She had half hoped that by waking up she would realize it had all been a bad dream and she would soon hear Legolas go downstairs. He was very much a morning person, rising with the sun. But of course, it hadn’t been a dream and she lay in bed feeling empty. Her talk with Kíli last night had definitely helped her. He understood her strong bond with Legolas, a bond similar to the one he shared with his own brother.
She had listened to what he had said about Arwen and Éowyn and she felt incredibly guilty about her outburst. They were both dealing with loss and if they had tried to protect her from feeling the same, it would have been one of the nicest things rather than acts of betrayal.
And so she waited for the hours to fly by until it was a respectable time to call her friends. She listened to the birds that were starting to sing and read the texts for university that she had fallen behind on, anything to keep her mind from Mordor. She had come to the realisation that she wasn’t even able to reach Legolas by phone, and she desperately tried to push away the constant feeling of fear in her stomach.
Once she saw the hour turn to be nine in the morning, she gave in, not being able to wait any longer. She picked up her phone and dialled Arwen’s number. Propping herself up against her bed’s headboard she took a shaky breath. She could imagine Arwen’s anger, what she had said was really unforgivable. She heard the phone dial and within seconds her friend’s voice came through the line.
“Tauriel?” came a voice heavy with sleep and she felt terribly guilty.
“Arwen… oh I am so sorry…” Tauriel started but her friend cut her off.
“No, Tauriel listen, I am sorry. I never should have listened to Legolas and you have every right to be mad at me. I only heard about his leaving from Aragorn, who swore me to secrecy and when I confronted Legolas he made me promise not to tell you. And you were so happy with Kíli, I couldn’t dare to tell you. I am so sorry for being such of a coward.”
“No Arwen, I don’t think you’re a coward, not at all, you were and always have been my friend. I so want to take back the words I said last night. I just couldn’t understand, I didn’t want to understand…”
“Can you forgive me for such words?”
“Can I…can you forgive me for not telling you?”
“Of course I can. And you are not the coward, Legolas is for not being brave enough to face my anger.”
“Legolas was only trying to help Tauriel, as crazy as it sounds, not that I agree with him of course.”
“Yeah… I can see his reasons… Did um Éowyn know about it?”
“Éowyn only knew that night. Apparently Faramir had told her. She was going to ask you about it but I told her to shut up. She didn’t like that of course. I think if it had taken me longer to find my make p supplied she probably would had said something.”
“I am glad she didn’t…” Tauriel admitted softly. “I should probably call her later.”
Yeah…” Arwen agreed softly and there was a pause.
“How…um…how are you feeling?” She carefully asked.
“Empty… I just… I am still so angry,” Tauriel told her, “Not at you, but at him, at this war…” she quickly added.
“I understand, if Aragorn was here right now, I would punch him…several times…” her friend agreed. “But life goes on, they have decided to go, so we have to make the best of it.”
“Will it get better?”
“I don’t know, it hasn’t felt any better, but I do advise you not to have a radio or tv on somewhere, it’s just terribly distracting.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“So… do you want to tell me about the party, Elladan told me you stayed.” Her friend asked and Tauriel could picture her face in front of her, her eyes curious and a sly grin on her face.
“It was great, the party was amazing. Everyone was so friendly, his mother loves me and even his uncle seems to tolerate my presence. Their parties are quite…different from ours.” Tauriel told her, her heart lifting as she remembered the great time she had. She knew this answer would only partially satisfy her friend who wanted to know some very specific things.
“Oh great! See I told you, you didn’t have to worry. How did Kíli find your dress?”
“He liked it a lot, kept telling me how great I looked.”
“Good, good… and then?”
“And then I stayed over at his place, the party was only just getting started when your family left.”
“Yes and then?”
“Then what?” She heard Arwen sigh dramatically.
“I swear you’re doing this on purpose, do I have to literally pull it out of you?”
“You know I am terrible at giving you details.”
“Oh but so there are details to give?” and Tauriel laughed.
“I had a great evening Arwen, he… it was great. There, happy?”
“No, but this answer will do for present. He really makes you happy doesn’t he?”
“Yes he does. I love him.”
“Oh gosh, this is so romantic.”
“You think everything is romantic.”
“Hey! I know a great romantic story when I see one. Come on think about it! Son and daughter of two opposing companies meeting and falling on common grounds, against all the odds.” And Tauriel laughed.
“You’re making it sound a lot more dramatic then it has been.”
“I am just more cultured. Thranduil should have taught you that. Talking about Thranduil, how is he doing?” Tauriel sighed thinking of her guardian.
“I don’t know, it’s very hard to tell.”
“It’s hard to tell with him anyway.” Arwen commented dryly.
“True, but he seems to be ok. He’s terribly hurt obviously and worried for Legolas, afraid of losing him too. But he at least got to say good-bye and so he’s keeping himself strong, as always. In a weird way, it might have actually helped our relationship.”
“Well I am glad to hear that he appears to be coping, and I know you will too. Dad will probably come by in the next few days. Apparently Elladan has been talking more about Mordor than dad likes.”
“Oh god, not Elladan too.” Tauriel said in shock. She could practically hear Arwen shake her head.
“Apparently it’s in our blood. Let’s just hope he’s not stupid enough.”
“So… any plans today. That’s another thing that helps, keep busy. I can’t be alone in my room too long before I go crazy.”
“Yeah I was planning on keeping busy for a while. There’s an archery competition coming up soon, so more excuse to practice. Kíli’s mother invited me over for dinner tonight. So working on that project for the rest of the day I think.”
“Oh good! When is the competition, Éowyn and I would love to come watch.”
“It’s in three weeks from now. It would be great if you guys came. I had actually been thinking before Aragorn left that we three should introduce the boys to Kíli. I mean I want him to get to know you guys as well, you’re also part of my life.”
“Even without Aragorn here, I think that’s a great idea. Éowyn can’t wait to finally meet him.”
“Well we will figure something out. I am gonna hang up and make some breakfast.” Tauriel said.
“Yes of course. Enjoy your day, it might be hard, but everything will be fine.”
“Thanks, you too. And Arwen, again, I am sorry.”
“I know and so am I. I am glad you called.”
Putting her phone down, Tauriel leaned back to rest. She was glad Arwen didn’t blame her for overreacting, and glad she heard the full story. She could definitely imagine her and Legolas’ intentions. If only she hadn’t been so impulsive… but at least she was forgiven.
Softly she heard someone downstairs turning on the espresso machine, which made its usual rattling noise. Thranduil must be up as well. She sent Kíli a message saying that she had talked to Arwen and all was fine, thanking him for his help last night. Pushing the covers off her and throwing on jeans and a shirt she made her way downstairs. Normally she’d enjoy a shower now, but she’d skipped dinner last night and her body was begging to be fed.
As she came down stairs she suspicions were confirmed as she saw Thranduil move with in the kitchen. She smelled freshly baked bread in the air and happily walked to the kitchen.
“Good morning Tauriel.” He said, without turning around. “How are you feeling this morning?”
“Much better, thank you.” She told him as she put some plates down on the table, before turning to the coffee machine. “Did you know I was awake.”
“I had a feeling you would be.”
“I talked to Arwen this morning.”
“Well last night… I said some pretty horrible things to her… I was some mad.”
“You’ve always been reckless, doing before thinking.”
“Yes, well I realized and called her again.”
“She forgave me, thankfully.”
“I would have no doubt that Arwen would forgive. She is far too kind.” And Tauriel laughed.
“Thanks.” She said sarcasm lining her voice. She looked at him. His clothing was impeccable as usual and his face looked calmer, telling her he was feeling better than last night. His silver blond hair was tied of at the ends to keep it out of his face, a hairstyle he generally adopted while cooking.
“How are you feeling?” and he looked at her and she saw a sparkle of a smile in his eyes.
“Better, well as good as can be. I have to say I am glad to not live with this burden in secrecy anymore.”
“Have you heard from Legolas?”
“Not much, he’s still travelling. We’ll probably get news tomorrow when he arrives at his post. Which reminds me,” and out of his pocket came a business card. “His contact details are on here. Try not to bombard him.” With a smile Tauriel took the treasured information from him.
“I’ll try not to.”
The bread was done, sliced in perfect slices. They prepared and eat their bread in silence, but it was a comfortable one. It had been a while since they had eaten together. With the three of them having busy schedules of their own, it generally meant that meal times were not together, something Tauriel realised she had missed.
“I missed this.” She told him and he nodded. “It’s rather ironic that Legolas always tried to force us to eat together, and that now that he’s gone, we finally do.”
“Yes indeed. He would be happy to hear it.”
“Yes…” she said and as she took another bite of her bread a memory came to mind, an old one. She was a young child, her feet swinging from a high wooden chair, not being able to touch the ground. The table she was sitting on was white and filled with fruits and jams, as well as syrups and chocolate. The smell of pancakes filled the air. Strong sunlight came from the windows and she remembered it being summer. Her parents sat on either side of her, they faces weren’t clear but she could tell their outline, her mother’s red hair and her father’s blond locks. They were smiling at her, happiness radiated from them during this normal happening. Tauriel came back to the present, looking slightly dazed.
“I used to eat like this with mum and dad.” She said though with a slight hesitation in her voice, as if asking a question. Thranduil looked up at her, his eyes curious.
“You remember?” He asked and she looked back at him.
“I do… well just now… I remembered just now. During the summer, it was a very warm summer.” Thranduil didn’t say anything but his eyes had grown hard, concern lining his face.
“Have you been remembering anything else?” He asked and she was slightly taken back by the strange question.
“Well no, not really…although…” She thought back of the time in Lothlórien forest with Kíli.
“Yes?” Thranduil urged.
“Well not so much as remembering I think, but not too long ago I was in the forest with Kíli. It was the day after Boromir’s funeral and I was very upset. We decided to go shooting and at one point it seemed as if I was in a kind of trance, as if I had fallen asleep and had a nightmare.”
“What was the nightmare?”
“It wasn’t very clear… it seemed like a battlefield, or at least people were fighting, they were shadows and chasing me… it was all very dark.” She looked at him, a frown now clearly present on his face.
“Have you been having these dreams often.”
“No thank heavens, it was only that time. I was very upset.”
“Yes of course.” He murmured and then his frown lifted and he even smiled. “You’ve always had a wild imagination.” And Tauriel laughed.
“And always so scared of small things.” He teased.
“Small things? Oh come on, I was never afraid, Legolas was the coward.”
“At times yes, but as a child you were so afraid of spiders.” And Tauriel shivered.
“I still don’t like them.”
“And you could never stand the dark.”
“There are many people afraid of the dark.” And Thranduil huffed.
“It’s an entirely irrational fear.” He said and Tauriel rolled her eyes.
“Well we can’t all be as brave as you.” And he smiled.
“No, no indeed.”
They resumed their delicious meal and cleared up.
“I have a meeting tonight, so I won’t be here for dinner.” Thranduil told her and she shrugged.
“That makes two of us.”
“Oh?” He raised his dark eyebrow.
“Mrs Durin, Kíli’s mum invited me over for dinner.”
“How lovely.” He said dryly and Tauriel gave him a look.
“She’s very nice as is the rest of his family.” She told him and he laughed.
“Yes I am sure Thorin is a pleasure to be around.”
“Ok, well maybe not him, but he’s not that bad. He seems to tolerate me.”
“Which is more than most people can say of him.”
“Is that supposed to be a compliment?”
“Possibly. Just don’t expect me to throw huge dinner parties like Mrs Durin seems to do. I’d like to keep my house intact.
“We can always give them Legolas’ room to trash.” She muttered and Thranduil gave her a slyly smile.
“I’ve taught you well… but no.” and she laughed.
She was about to go upstairs again when Thranduil, who was busy putting on his jacket to leave to his office, called her. His hair was released for the hair tie, falling around him so perfectly it was almost frightening.
“Yes?” She asked and his ice blue eyes locked with hers. He seemed to think over what he was about to say, choosing his words carefully.
“Have…fun tonight and get home safe.” He told her and she smiled.
“Thank you, I will. You enjoy you’re evening too.” He was about to leave when he turned once more.
“I am glad you’re still here Tauriel.” He said softly, almost too soft for her to hear, but she did and smiled even more widely this time.
“I am glad too Thranduil. Now go before you kill yourself with such heartfelt words.” She teased and he gave her a grin before walking out.
She couldn’t belief, that in his own weird way, he had basically said he cared for her. While missing the presence of Legolas terribly, at least she and his father were making steps, albeit baby steps, to getting closer to a father-daughter relationship, which was more than she could have asked for.
She reached her bedroom and checked her phone. Kíli long replied to her message saying how glad he was everything seemed to be better than last night. He asked if he should pick her up that evening. She smiled.
‘Only if it’s with that sexy motorbike of yours xxx.’ She sent. Within seconds there was a reply.
‘Deal my lady. Prince on the motorbike coming your way xxx’
Laughing she walked off to take a well deserved shower.